Monday, August 19, 2013

My First Jane







Have you ever played the game where you imagine what it would have been like to have met your best friend, lover, spouse, favorite book, movie or author earlier in your life? I play that game often with Jane. How did I miss knowing her for so long ?! From my earliest years I’ve been in love with English literature. From the first night my mother read me the stories of King Arthur and his Knights I became a true Anglophile. From Shakespeare to Le Morte D’ Arthur, Dickens to Poe, and in my teen years an overwhelming passion for Barbara Cartland romances English authors dominated my reading life. Yet Jane never entered my life.


My Journey with Jane began one winter afternoon over fifteen years ago. I was laying on the couch flipping through the channels when I landed on PBS ( my one and only entertainment link for my English passions) and an episode of the BBC adaption of Pride & Prejudice. The had me at Colin:



But they kept me with Jane and Elizabeth. Lucky for me they were doing a marathon of the mini-series and I lay there enraptured for hours. As the final episode began I was already planning in my mind the trip to my local bookstore to buy the novel. I was thrilled to discover that Jane had written more than one book! I purchased a copy of her complete novels and immersed my self into her world. Despite knowing the ending of P& P, I was so enraptured with the novel that I forgot all I had seen before. The humor and wit jumped of the page and I found my breath catching as I reached the end fearful that all would go awry, utterly pleased when all was set to rights.


I have been a Austen fan for sometime now. Though I sometimes dip in to the vast literary pool of Austen inspired fiction, I always come home to the source material. The essence of Jane for me has always been her ability to portray all manners of the human condition. Society and classes have changed but how we act and what we aspire to, is universal. Austen pokes and prods at this, showing us the best and worst of what we can be and think.


Lizzie and Jane’s world could not be more different from mine but there is a relatable core to them that anyone who takes the time to explore can resonate with.

So in this month when many of have Jane in our thoughts I realize that I found her just at the right time and continue to find her through her legacy of vibrant characters, exploration of familial bonds, the many  paths of love and of course the delight of Mister Darcy :)

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